7.19.2008

Very Mary Book Review

Disclaimer: Very Mary is a 30-year old English teacher at a small community college in rural Ohio. Her choice of reading material may or may not be shared and/or endorsed by other 30-year olds, English teachers, community colleges, and/or rural Ohioans. The views expressed within this post are strictly those of Very Mary.

Very Mary is Very Behind the times in her reading. She almost always purchases her books at thrift shops or yard sales where she never pays more than $1, and she's at least three solid years behind the "popular" reading curve. Perhaps this is why she just finished this book:



Very Mary realizes there's a whole lot of to-do about Kingsolver's latest book, but she can't comment on it as of yet because she hasn't seen it at Goodwill. However, Very Mary definitely recommends The Poisonwood Bible, which came highly recommended to her.

As a former Southern Baptist, Very Mary typicallyshies away from books dealing with any of these topics: baptists, church, god, or baptists in church praising god. If you happen to be a god-praising baptist, she likes you just the same, but please do not invite Very Mary to go to church with you. She has had her sins pointed out enough times, and she does not want to watch a sweaty preacher turn red in the face while he shouts about how everyone except the baptists are bound for hell. Also, Very Mary does not want to go door-to-door witnessing with you, but she will happily meet you for lunch instead.

Anyhow. When Very Mary read the first chapter and realized that The Poisonwood Bible chronicles the life of a baptist preacher and his family as they take a mission trip to Africa, she thought "uh-oh". That view, however, quickly turned around as she read subsequent chapters, each written by a different member of the preacher's family. Luckily, readers never have to hear from the wacko preacher. And he is really wacko, and he reminds Very Mary of every baptist preacher she ever met.

It's written so well that Very Mary felt as if she was reading a journal, not a novel. She was so engrossed with the tale that she stayed up until 5:30 a.m. on Thursday night (or Friday morning, rather) to finish it. It is that Very Good. Readers will find out what happens when one mixes baptist missionary work with the fight for Conglaese independence. Very Mary's sympathies extended to the preacher's wife, and she wanted so badly for her to have a healthy prescription of anti-depressants along with her malaria medication. She also wanted to kick that wacko preacher in his gonads, plus she wanted to fly right into 1960's Africa and save the preacher's children.

This book made Very Mary laugh, cry, gasp, celebrate, grow angry, but most of all, it made her think. And Very Mary is all about a book that really makes her think. A book that opens up her mind and shows her a point of view that she had never in her whole 30 years on this planet considered. And this book? It is still giving Very Mary pause.

19 comments:

Catherine said...

I was really intrigued by your review. I've seen that book in the bookstore but have shied away from it. Now I'm curious enough to give it a try. Thank you!

katydidnot said...

i will trade you, poinsonwood for the new one. i've got it. i'll read it this week and send to you. because we are engaged and i owe you forty two presents and/or letters.

Mrs. G. said...

I loved this book-now you have to read The Bean Trees (I see it at Goodwill all the time). Miss G. loved it too. I am really enjoying your book reviews.

Kay aka dkswife said...

As a Baptist escapee myself, I think I may have to check this one out at the library! Thanks!

Nerissa said...

I may have to check this out, as it looks like a great book. It's sad, but very rare that I read something else besides a craft book or magazine.
Thanks for the review!
Got a good chuckle out of your posts below. The "cat lady" one is adorable.
Nerissa

Roxanne said...

Wow - that good, huh? Interesting...

Kim said...

So does this mean you're not getting up early for church in the morning?! Hey, I have that book on my "waiting-to-be-read" shelf--along with a lot of other good books, some of which have recently been purchased at Goodwill. Come to think of it, you'd make a darn fine preacher if you were anywhere near as good at converting the unholy as you are at making thrifting converts, darn it!

see you there! said...

I'm a Kingsolver fan and believe I've read most it not all her books. I use the library most often and occasionally find something at the thrift store... but thrift store hardbacks are around $3 here these days.

Great book review, made me recall just why I liked Poisonwood.

Darla

kim said...

This book was awesome....she's also done a great great short stories- High tide in Tuscan has my favorite one where she recounts the story behind her pet hermit crab...I know it sounds lame but it was really well written

Keetha said...

I shied away from this book for some of the same reasons you describe. It just sounds like it will be so darn disheartening and sad.

I am a wimp.

I also haven't read that Vegetable Mineral something or 'nother book, though I understand it's all the rage.

And I'm stil totally thinking of getting that Sleeping Beauty book, based on your review at Derfwad.

Last night I started The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson and it is great. If not for work today after a week of vacation, I absolutely could have stayed up until 5:30 a.m. reading it.

fated follies studio said...

i love books like that. love them. i love Jesus myself but i "subscribe" to any religion although i go to church. i'd walk out in the middle of a sermon if i heard one from your pastor. it amazes me. sometimes i don't think those people read the Bible or know anything about Jesus. i do love the u.s. though. our "intellect" goes far beyond understanding faith or even experiencing it at times. that goes for crazy baptist preachers. they make their sermons about our ways, nots God's. hmmm. if he were like our ways, we would have invented him, wouldn't we?

fated follies studio said...

*i mean i DON'T Subscribe to any "organized" religion, lol.

Ollie + Junebug said...

ooo...one of my favorites! I read it a few years back and I remember not being able to put it down! Good recommendation for sure! Please share how you like the new one too...I haven't read it yet.

Heidi said...

I loved this book, too, and have distinct memories of reading it on the Jersey Shore.

I also loved "Lovely Bones" in your last post.

Not surprised an English teacher has good taste in books!

Heidi said...

P.S. I'm listening to "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" on CD right now and it's the greatest to hear the author's voice for this one!

e. beck said...

i loved that book .... a long time ago.... ha!

Linda said...

Ugh! Great book, but as the expat daughter of a Southern Baptist Minister, it gave me the heebie jeebies! Glad to hear I'm not the only one!

Laume said...

I loved this book, which I read many years ago and I really should put it in the to-be-reread pile. Of course I love everything that Kingsolver has written. The Bean Trees is one of my favorite books ever.

A book that tackles (in a sub-thread and in a gentle and humorous way) Baptists, try Joshilyn Jackson's book - gods in alabama. In fact, I recommend all three of her books, keep an eye out for them at the thrift store. And if you want to read more current titles, check and see if your library has an interlibrary loan program. That's how I get to read most of the newer books without spending a dime.

Barbie Jo said...

I love, love, love, this book, so beautifully written, I have read it 4 times since it came out in paperback and finally passed it on.